One Hundred Years of Solitude


Gabriel García Márquez

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One Hundred Years of Solitude Themes

Themes and Colors
The Circularity of Time Theme Icon
Solitude Theme Icon
Progress and Civilization Theme Icon
Propriety, Sexuality, and Incest Theme Icon
Magic vs. Reality Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in One Hundred Years of Solitude, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

The Circularity of Time

Throughout One Hundred Years of Solitude, characters cannot break free of their family’s behavioral patterns: instead, they find themselves trapped within fates that echo their family history. Characters are haunted by the decisions they’ve made, but also by the decisions their ancestors have made, even becoming confused by the difference between past, present, and future. As a result, Márquez reveals the bulk of his characters to be fatalists, or people who believe that their fates…

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Despite the vast number of characters and the many communities depicted in One Hundred Years of Solitude, solitude is a characteristic that marks each character in its own way. The males of the Buendía family (particularly those named Aureliano) are repeatedly described as having a solitary nature. Though the Aurelianos are characterized as withdrawn, the José Arcadio characters also note their loneliness, especially when in the company of others. Though solitude is portrayed as…

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Progress and Civilization

One Hundred Years of Solitude can be read as an allegory of Colombian history, with the book’s one-hundred-year span standing in for hundreds of years of the nation’s past. Many of the novel’s events—such as the Buendía family arriving in Macondo and establishing a town, the military conflict between the Liberal and Conservative parties, the expansion of the railway to connect colonial settlements, and the hegemony of the American Fruit Company over Colombian produce—echo the…

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Propriety, Sexuality, and Incest

In One Hundred Years of Solitude, love and lust are inextricably tangled: familial love is confused with sexual love, husbands and wives have so little sexual chemistry that they must satisfy their urges with other partners, and the parentage of many characters is kept secret, heightening the risk of incest. These complicated circumstances are caused by the characters’ misplaced dedication to propriety and social norms. Márquez suggests that if the characters were more honest about…

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Magic vs. Reality

In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Márquez calls into question the nature of fact and reality. He suggests that the recorded history of Colombia is one that has been shaped by the Conservative victors, and so he seeks to tell the history of Macondo through the lens of lived experience, complicating the story and showing the reader the way perspective can shape reality. This is directly related to the literary style of magical realism…

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